Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Finding Wisdom

Sherlock Holmes and his faithful assistant Watson were on a camping expedition. Holmes could always solve mysteries through his powers of observation and he would continually try to teach Watson how to do it.
After eating supper, they got into their sleeping bags and turned in for the night. Several hours later, Holmes work up his friend and said, "Watson, wake up right now and tell me what you see." After rubbing his eyes, Watson said, "I see thousands of stars."
"And what does that tell you?" Holmes quizzed. Watson answered, "It opens the possibility that there are thousands of planets out there."
"Very good, Watson. What else do you observe?"
Watson said, "The position of the moon tells me it is approximately 3 a.m."
"Very good. What else?"
Scratching his head, Watson replied, "I'm drawing a blank. What should I be observing? What am I not seeing?"
Holmes said, "Watson, old boy, it tells me that someone has stolen our tents!"
Some people can't see the obvious. Common sense can see the obvious, but wisdom sees beyond the obvious. Wisdom is the ability to make right decisions. Wisdom is the insight into how to solve problems. None of these come from our own natural abilities because Prov. 2:6 says, "The Lord gives wisdom." If we are going to be wise, we must get it from Him. Here are four things required of us:
1. Have the highest respect for God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. 9:10). Do you fear the Lord above all else?
2. Have a teachable spirit. You can have the greatest teacher in the world but if the student doesn't want to learn, he won't! Are you willing to do whatever He says?
3. Ask God for it. James 1:5 says, "If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God." What's funny about this is that EVERYONE lacks wisdom. They just don't know it. For those who realize they need it, they must ask. God doesn't automatically make everyone wise. We must ask. We must ask desperately and God says, "it will be given him."
4. We must receive it. James 1:6-7 says if we doubt that God will give it, we will not receive it. Have you ever tried to give a gift to someone who won't receive it? Even though you've bought the gift and are offering it, it's all in vain if the person won't receive it.
God will speak His wisdom to you through thoughts that pop into your mind, through desires in your heart, and through godly counselors. To hear the entire audio message on this subject, go to:
"Finding Wisdom, part 1"

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Secret to Being Thankful

Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft, once spoke at a convention in Seattle. At the time Gates was the richest man in America with a personal worth of $35 billion. At the end of his speech, he allowed the audience to ask him questions. One man asked, "Mr. Gates, if you were blind, would you trade all your money to have you sight restored?" Gates replied, "If I were blind, yes, I would give up all my money to receive my sight." He put a $35 billion price tag on his eyesight!

What price have you placed on your blessings? Everything you own has a price tag on it. It's a price tag in your mind and the value can change whenever you decide. The value of something is determined by how much it is appreciated. When an item means a lot to you, it appreciates in value. But when it isn't important to you anymore, it depreciates in value.

When you buy an expensive piece of furniture, you are excited about it and are thankful. But over time you might quit noticing it and decide to sell it in a garage sale for $5. In your mind, it has lost its value so you stop being thankful for it. When a bride and groom stand at the altar exchanging vows, they tell each other that they are the most valuable person in the world. But as time goes on and conflict occurs, they may stop appreciating each other. They don't value each other like they did on their wedding day.

The key to being thankful is to increase the perceived value of what you own by raising the price on each item. Make a decision to appreciate everything that God has given you by giving genuine thanks to Him. Eph. 5:20 says, "Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God." Why would He tell us to do this? Because God really, really likes to hear us give thanks to Him--all the time. Unfortunately, much of what He hears is just complaining.
To listen to the entire message on this topic, go to
"Thankful ALL the Time."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Overcoming Temptation

God created Adam & Eve with a hunger drive, and then He gave them food to fulfill that drive. They could eat from any tree in the garden except for one--the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17). If Adam & Eve had been eating the food that God had provided for them, they would not have been hungry for the forbidden fruit. If they had been filling up on legitimate fruit, their hunger drive would have been fulfilled and the temptation to eat forbidden fruit would have gone away.

Suppose you went to your Aunt Margie's for Thanksgiving dinner and she has just baked your favorite dessert, homemade apple pie. You are about to indulge yourself when Aunt Margie interrupts and says, "You can't have that now. Lunch is ready. You can have it for dessert."

She serves you turkey and dressing with all the trimmings and you stuff yourself like it's your last meal. You go back for seconds and when you're done, you have too loosen your belt. Then Aunt Margie comes out with a large piece of apple pie and places it in front of you. You tell her, "Ohhhh, take that away. I can't eat another bite. I'm stuffed!"

Thirty minutes ago you were craving the pie and now you can't stand to even look at it. What changed? Your hunger drive has been been fulfilled, so the temptation is no longer there!

The same thing that works for your hunger drive also applies to every other desire and drive in your life. If you fulfill your drives in God's way, you won't be hungry for forbidden fruit. To listen to the entire message about the 6 keys to overcoming temptation, go to
http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "Overcoming Temptations"

Monday, November 8, 2010

Entering Into Temptation

Temptation is an area that can be entered into. Matt. 6:13 says, "Do not lead us into temptation." Matt. 26:41 says, "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation." The Greek word "into" means to go from the outside to the inside. You go from the outside of a house through a door to get inside.

Adam & Eve entered into temptation when they decided to go to the middle of the Garden of Eden to inspect the forbidden fruit. In the picture above, the circle represents the area of temptation. When Adam and Eve were outside of the area, they weren't being tempted by the forbidden fruit. It had no power over them. But the moment they decided to inspect the fruit and took the first step toward the tree, they entered into temptation. They went through the door of temptation and now they were "under the influence" because the lure was pulling them toward the forbidden fruit.

They could have broken the spell of the influence if they had turned around and run away from the tree (see picture below). Most people try to resist the temptation, but the flesh isn't strong enough to win the battle. "The flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41). That's why we need to turn around and flee out of the area. 2 Tim. 2:22 says "Flee from lusts." Joseph didn't try to resist Potiphar's wife but ran away from her. If you are being tempted, you need to run away from the forbidden fruit. God will make a way of escape for you (1 Cor. 10:13) so look for the EXIT sign. To listen to the entire message on this subject, go to www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on "Analyzing Temptation."